Equal Rights activists react to military transgender ban

8 months 3 weeks 3 days ago Wednesday, July 26 2017 Jul 26, 2017 Wednesday, July 26, 2017 3:32:00 PM CDT July 26, 2017 in News
By: Michael Rizzo, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - President Trump sent out three tweets today effectively banning transgender individuals from serving in the military in any capacity.

"After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military," he tweeted. "Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you."

This ban comes a little more than a year after the Obama administration announced that transgender individuals could serve openly.

Equal Rights activist and transgender veteran Cathy Serino, who served from 1986 through 1998, said this reversal will hurt a lot of people.

"Transgender veterans have been able to openly serve now for over a year, thousands of thousands came out where they legally could, and now, all those people that came out are going to get thrown out of the military," she said.

"Your gender identity does not affect your ability to fire a weapon, to drive a truck, to fly a plane," Serino said. "Transgender people have served in the military forever, obviously, they had to serve closeted, but they’ve been in there forever.”

Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R - MO, released a statement today backing Trumps decision.

"President Trump's decision today to rescind Obama's transgender military policy has the best interest of the military in mind, and I thank him for taking this decisive action," she said. "Our military is the most effective, efficient and well-funded fighting force in the world, and as the president notes, we cannot burden our armed forces with the tremendous costs and disruptions that transgender in the military would entail."

Transgender veteran Michelle Daytona, who served from 1997 through 2005, said she does not understand why this ban would happen.

"We’re not monsters. We’re not animals. We’re not things to be feared. We’re regular human beings just like you," she said.  

Daytona recited something her commander once said to her.

"We were in formation, and he said to us, 'look to the left, look to the right, front, back, there is no black, there is no white, there is no brown, there is no yellow, there is no red, all I see is Army Green,'” she said.

Serino had a message for current members of the transgender community that are serving in the military.

"Don’t give up, I mean, this obviously will be fought, and you just have to hold strong and keep fighting, no matter what," she said.

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